A spouse divorcing a servicemember in Wisconsin can learn quite a bit from the member’s Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). The LES is the military equivalent of a civilian paystub, though it includes much more useful information.
The LES shows the total pay, entitlements, deductions, allotments, and other information relating to the servicemember. They are provided by the Defense Financing and Accounting Service (DFAS) once per month.
Some of the more important data in the LES include the below, and are often labeled clearly on the document:
- The member’s pay grade.
- The branch of the armed forces.
- The date of entry to active duty, DIEMS (date of initial entry to military service), and years of service.
- Entitlements/pay. The member may receive not only “regular” pay, but also additional pay. The most common include BAS (Base Allowance Subsistence), BAH (Base Allowance Housing), HDP (hardship duty), combat pay, though there are several others.
- Deductions, such as taxes, life insurance, and dental plan.
- Allotments, which are payments made directly from a member’s pay, such as savings accounts, debt payment, etc.
- Gross and net pay, both for the month period and year to date.
- Type of retirement plan.
- Leave balance.
- Amount and type of the member’s dependents.
- Information on Thrift Savings Plan contributions. The TSP is the military equivalent of a 401k.
This information is valuable to determine not only the member’s pay, but the basis for that pay. It also provides substantial information on the member’s duty status, retirement, available benefits, location, etc. The first step in evaluating any military divorce is to obtain the most recent LES.
Attorney David Kowalski has represented many military members and their spouses in Wisconsin divorce. Call Attorney Kowalski at 608-709-5000 for a free consultation.